Western States Equipment Company in partnership with local food banks in four states today concluded the “Dump Hunger” campaign. The campaign which began Dec. 22, 2008, gathered some 116,000 lbs. of food — surpassing its goal of 75,000 lbs. The food gathered from Western States’s 11 locations filled the bed of a Caterpillar 730 dump truck, one of Caterpillar’s largest vehicles capable of holding 75,000 lbs., and half the bed of an additional truck.
“Few thought that we would be able to reach even the goal of 75,000 pounds,” said Western States’s President Tom Harris, “but our employees brought all their passion to this effort and we exceeded the expected.”
Area food banks estimate that 25,000 people within the four-state region of Idaho, Washington, Montana, and Oregon seek assistance each week. Compounding this year’s 30 percent increase in demand for food is a 38 percent drop in donations from corporate food producers who are increasingly clearing out merchandise through dollar stores and discount outlets. The campaign this year was critical because it increased post holiday contributions, which traditionally decline in January and February while food bank demands remain high.
In all, Western States will distribute the equivalent of 116,837 lbs. of food to food banks in Idaho, Montana, Washington and Oregon. Western States in Missoula led the drive, gathering the equivalent of almost 29,000 lbs. of food.
Over the “Dump Hunger” campaign Western States Equipment gathered donations from employees, customers, and the general public. Western States also matched the dollar value of all the food collected, with a cash donation of up to $15,000. “In a perfect world, we’d only have to do this once,” said Harris, “but we’re already gearing up for next year’s campaign. We may even need to bring in a Cat 773 to carry all of the donations.”
Western States will begin distributing food and cash donations to food banks later this week.
With more than 70 years experience in the logging, mining and construction industries, Western States Equipment is an authorized Caterpillar dealer for five mountain states with 11 general line and truck engine branches and 11 Cat Rental Stores located in Idaho, western Wyoming and Montana, and eastern Oregon and Washington.
For more information, visit www.westernstatescat.com.